RTI Source Blog

by User Not Found | Jan 06, 2011

Progress-Monitoring:  Common Questions

 

by Susan L. Hall, EdD

 

Today’s blog is on progress monitoring; we receive a lot of questions about this topic. Progress monitoring is important. It’s one of the defining characteristics of Response to Intervention (RTI). Without progress-monitoring data, RTI cannot be done. Progress monitoring is mentioned in two of the eight core principles of RTI from the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE):

 

  • Principle #6: Monitor student progress to inform instruction.
  • Principle #8: Use assessment for screening, diagnostics, and progress monitoring.

 NASDSE, Response to Intervention: Policy Considerations and Implementation. Alexandria, VA: Author.

 

In spite of how important progress monitoring is, many times we see practices in schools that just don’t make sense. One of my favorite misguided practices is when the instrument used to assess students in intervention doesn’t allow measuring the skill that is the focus of instruction. For example, let’s take the case of students who have been placed in an intervention group to address deficits in reading words that contain the long vowel silent-e pattern. How is progress monitoring with an oral reading passage going to tell you whether the instruction is working when only 3 of the 78 words read had the long vowel silent-e pattern? It doesn’t work.

 

Another misguided practice is when teachers are asked to progress monitor daily. As my 20-something kids would say, “Really?” Are you really using daily progress-monitoring data? Even assessing weekly is a lot. Unless you’re updating the student’s progress-monitoring graph weekly, administering the assessment that often may not be a good use of time. In fact, collecting data and not using it is a waste of time; it’s far better to spend that time teaching instead of assessing.

                                                 

Some of the most common questions we are asked about progress monitoring are:

  • Which assessment instrument should I use?
  • How often should I assess?
  • Who should administer the progress-monitoring assessments?
  • What do I do with all of this data?
  • How do I measure whether progress is sufficient? How do I decide when to make changes?

The next several blogs will cover these questions in more detail. If you have questions that are not on this list, please send them to me.

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